The last two days have been a serious departure from both my normal routine and what I could be or should be doing with my time. Losing heat in your house will do that to a person. Once again the universe is smiling on me and the temps outside which could have been below freezing for this time of year we’re actually in the 50s and 60s and never dipped below 32 degrees.
In my troubleshooting I’ve learned a little, had moments of pure shame at my ability to make assumptions, and spent some money on what feels like “panic” purchases.
The moment of shame came when I was taking out the original house thermostat to replace it with the pretty new Nest one that I bought. Back up a second and let me explain the fight in my own head about the decision to go this route.
1. i have two thermostats in my house. The one in the dining room was presumably the original and hard wired to the basement.
2. That thermostat was clearly displaying the temp and settings but adjusting anything had no affect on the heat (although the house fan was still operational from that toggle switch). This second point is what led me to assume the thermostat in my bedroom controlled the heat and air. It’s what I’ve been using for two years to do so.
3. The other thermostat in my bedroom was not operational because it can’t connect to the Witeless receiver in the basement. I had a plan of action in place to further troubleshoot and fix this yesterday but it got derailed by a couple of factors (more on that in a minute).
4. The Honeywell “Redlink” system was installed presumably 2009 and though it’s not overly complex, there were things (and still are things) I don’t understand about it.
5. I’m not an HVAC expert or an electrician.
Given all this, I was really going against my own logical instinct when I was at Home Depot buying the Nest. That thermostat has to be hard wired and is designed to replace a wired thermostat. The wireless part is just the controls, not the device itself. I knew this.
So logically, if the original thermostat to the house is not working, I have no reason to believe wiring this one up using the same 4 tiny wires was going to work. Also.. it’s just a tangent to my real problem in that the wireless thermostat can’t talk to the base. In a moment of self doubt, peer pressure (yeah I was with someone who thought the Nest was really cool), and a bit of Hail Mary panic.. I bought it.
Back to Nest install..
The old thermostat was fitted snug INTO the drywall so no easy feat getting that son of a bitch out. It wasn’t until after the unit was out that I see the instructions on the back for getting the unit out of the wall mount. They were on the side. Are you F-ing kidding me? Why would they put the instructions on the unit on a spot that ends up behind the wall?
Once the unit was out I finally had access to something I’ve not had before.. the batteries. Before going any further, I popped the old out and replaced with new. What happens next was my grand moment of shame.
The thing clicked and I could hear the furnace in the basement firing up. All I could think was “are you F-ing kidding me???!!!!”. Seriously.
Essentially what this means is that the mystery of the two thermostats could have been solved from the very start just by replacing two double A batteries? For crying out loud.
In my defense.. I never had access to the batteries before. None the less, I should have tried to figure that out a long time ago. However, I didn’t ever think this thermostat controlled anything so I had ignored further investigation.
With the furnace humming beautifully along I wanted to just pause and let the house warm up. I was ashamed but relieved. My house had heat and I could control it.
That, of course, is not the end of the story. My dear friend, the one super excited about the Nest, wanted to press on.
The next little bit of the story is filled with fun twists and turns that will leave you hanging on for more. Because, we’ll, there’s nothing so exciting as a tale about house maintenance and HVAC systems. I’m sure there’s also a few good life lessons that are to be learned as well.
Tune in again next time for the riveting conclusion of this story.